While telenovelas have long been considered the star product of Latin America’s audiovisual exports, formats are coming into the spotlight. Televisa Internacional, for instance, has ramped up this part of its catalogue considerably.
In January of last year, the company agreed to a format joint venture with the Spanish production company La Competencia. “Together, we started a new path for creating entertainment formats for the world,” says Ricardo Ehrsam, the director of entertainment formats at Televisa Internacional. The partnership is for the joint creation of entertainment formats for Latin America, Spain and other global markets.
La Competencia’s Everybody and Their Brother has been a standout success, according to Ehrsam. The entertainment format was adapted by Televisa’s Canal 5 in Mexico, and has a second season in the works. Mediaset Spain is doing its own version for Cuatro to air in prime time. It has also been optioned in 25 countries.
Ehrsam says that because of its formats business, Televisa Internacional has gained access to markets where it didn’t previously have a presence, including the Nordic countries and Asia. “At the same time, it has developed new entryways for us in consolidated markets such as Spain, France, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the U.S.”
The company is hoping to further this business by shoring up sales on some new entertainment formats from its catalogue. This includes the comedic dance show Dancegerous, which sees two celebrities choosing members of the studio audience to take on dancing challenges, and Ale Hop!, a talent variety show that searches for the best VIP entertainer. Both are from the La Competencia partnership.
Televisa Internacional also has its eye on international format sales for Los González, which sees a fictional family pulling hidden-camera pranks on real victims, as well as Sing It, Sell It, in which anonymous people sell all kinds of objects by using their imagination and charm through song. The shiny-floor entertainment format Playback is another top priority for format sales. The talent show features a jury of celebrities who must determine whether the performer on stage is singing live or is using a playback of another person’s voice.
“Our decision to set up a joint venture between Televisa and La Competencia focused on our wish to bring fresh new ideas into the market,” says Ehrsam. “Televisa’s leading distribution of the largest Spanish content catalogue joins together with La Competencia, whose managers have been delivering successful entertainment formats for the past 20 years. The formats Televisa Internacional offers have a unique blend; they are the result of the bridge set up between Europe and Latin America, which until now did not exist and which is built upon a rich and creative production and distribution experience.”